Hopeful for a new cardi and avoiding some tension problems …

A while ago I purchased two fabrics – both 85% polyester and 15% rayon knits – a Chevron pattern, one a Hunter Green and one a Red.  Just on a whim.  These fabrics spread out are a bit overwhelming for my taste – but they were too beautiful to resist.  I had to figure out what I was going to make with them.

I thought I would make a cardigan with one, perhaps the darker one, and a skirt … or culottes … or a skirt … or culottes … with the brighter one.

My favourite cardigan pattern is Butterick B5789.  I’ve made my red one successfully before here.  Now just to be brave and try new things, this time, I thought I would try making a cardigan that was reversible.  The green Chevron pattern on one side and a white linen look on the other.  That way if I didn’t feel bold I could wear the Chevron fabric on the inside, just peeking out, and if I was feeling BOLD then I could wear the Chevron fabric on the outside.  I thank my friend, Nadine, for giving me the white linen looking fabric (and quite a few others!).


I wasn’t too sure how I wanted to cut out the Chevron fabric, but I assumed that it would be similar to matching stripes.  So after laying the fabric out on the floor – with the Chevron stripes perfectly straight – I lay my two pieces on top again being careful to make them perfectly straight.

Carefully placed.
Carefully cut.

Then I flipped my cut pattern pieces so they were right sides together with my fabric, matched them up with the fabric underneath, and cut out my second pattern pieces.

Almost invisible!


Cutting out the white linen look fabric was business as usual.  This body piece is huge!


Next comes the fun part … the sewing!  Will I be successful?  Can I make a reversible cardigan out of these two fabrics?  Have you made a reversible garment before?

I promised a couple of posts ago when I introduced you to Amber – my 1954 Singer Slant-o-matic Convertible, model 421G, that I would give you the details on how to disassemble/reassemble the upper tension.  I’m not an expert so I took step-by-step photos and I referred to The Archaic and the Arcane‘s Youtube which I have attached at the end of this post.  I am glad I did take the photos and follow the Youtube because there was an extra piece in this assembly that I wasn’t familiar with.  I was happy to refer to the helpful YouTube video from The Archaic and the Arcane.

Most of my upper tension assembly pieces are removed.  My tension stud looks crooked.
I can loosen this small screw inside to remove my tension stud and tension release pin.


Tension stud and tension release pin removed too.
Now to place them back in, make sure your presser foot is up, push in the tension stud and push in the tension release pin all the way.  Position the tension stud so it is horizontal and then tighten the small screw inside.


That’s better!
Next pieces – the three tension disks and the plate are sandwiched between the take up spring.
The little post is upright and slipped in the hole and the take up spring hook is in the tension stud slot and the take up spring curve is in the bottom position.
The take up spring is pulled up so it catches on the hook of the plate.
Next comes the plus/minus dial and the beehive spring.
The washer, with its little finger up.
Here’s the confusion.  Last time I assembled an upper tension, I had only two pieces left – the numbered collar and the screw on knob.  Amber has the numbered collar and three silver pieces that make up the screw on knob … or does she?
This machine is different!  This flange collar goes on next …
and is screwed on until it is flush with the tension stud.
Next the numbered collar is placed on and held at position “8”.
Almost to the end now, we can spin on the other part of the knob making sure we hold the numbered collar at position “8” …
and the final piece is placed on.
Still holding at position “8” the set screw is tightened.   This little screw is used to loosen the knob up to make fine adjustments to your tension assembly later.

I have taken these photos to remind myself how it all goes together as I’m not an expert at this yet.  I’ve also saved the Youtube that helped me out.  Let’s hear how it’s done from a professional!

Do you use Youtube as a sewing resource?  What was the last helpful one you found? 

To finish off, let me just say “Thank you” to The Archaic and the Arcane for helping me out with Amber!

Happy Sewing!

18 thoughts on “Hopeful for a new cardi and avoiding some tension problems …

  1. That chevron will make a gorgeous Cardi and that method of cutting and matching the pieces is perfect, even if the chevron or stripe goes off, you can pull it back into place.
    I can see your very into your sewing machine repairs for your vintage machines so the YouTube videos are great for this!
    I have a scary sciver machine at work and was shown how to sharpen it on a YouTube video, it may have been the most boring thing I ever watched, and funny because the couple making it were arguing. In the end I had to get an engineer to show me! A sciver is a machine that skims down the thickness of leather before you sew it….learning something new all the time! enjoy the sewing

    1. The Chevron has a bit of stretch so I was thinking and hoping that I could ease it into place as I sew. I have never heard of a sciver (now I can’t see how you spelt it correctly) – I hope I have it right. You are lucky you get to try so many different techniques and equipment. That would be hilarious to watch a YouTube and end up watching an arguing couple. Worst thing that happened in this one is she dropped a piece – she found it easily enough. Makes me wonder what kind of a mess I would make of my own YouTube video! 😂

      1. Easing it in should be a perfect way to do it.
        The sciver is loud and sparks fly when you sharpen the stone but I’m getting less scared of it.
        I’m now loving the big heavy duty leather machines. They’re slow and plodding and sew through everything. In fact I’m becoming over protective of them and give students a row if they treat them badly!
        How odd are we all?? 🙂

        1. Old enough to be demanding and scold the younger ones, I guess! 😂 Enjoy YOUR machines!

  2. Your cardigan is going to be wonderful! And so perfect to be reversible to suit your mood – I’d say have that bold chevron facing out, because one brave soul to tackle the mechanical business in your machines!!

    1. Haha. It will be a real indicator of my mood! Like a mood ring!

  3. I love chevrons, so I was totally drawn to this post!

    1. It’s a first for me, but I always did like the look of them!

  4. I think those patterns will be lovely on cardigans! I am also impressed by your sewing machine know-how!

    1. Thank you and I’m sort of learning as I go along with the vintage sewing machines.

  5. What absolutely stunning fabrics. They are gorgeous. I am really looking forward to seeing how your cardi turns out. I never watch sewing vids on You Tube but lots of make up tutorials instead. It is a great resource. Xx

    1. Thank you! What did we ever do before the internet??? 🙂

  6. I love Youtube for this kind of thing…well not taking apart and putting together a sewing machine, that’s beyond me, but for being there when you need it. I’m looking forward to seeing you modeling your new cardi, hopefully on a day when you’re feeling BOLD!

    1. The internet can be quite handy can’t it? Oh I’m sure there will be photos of both ways…if this all works out as it’s meant too! 😃

  7. I’m looking forward to seeing your reversible cardigan. Seeing your knowledge of fixing sewing machines, I expect to see your own YouTube video soon. 🖒

    1. My own YouTube! I’m too shy for that… I’d have to have a stand in!

  8. Good luck, may it be successful! I tried a reversible cardi last year…it looked pretty good on the picture I took for the pattern review…but I passed it on to someone else without wearing it once in real life. I chose my pattern and fabrics wrong: Pattern too flat-chested for me and fabrics not of similar weight…not a good plan )-; Yours looks a lot more promising!

    1. We shall see! Fingers crossed! 😃

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